Thursday, June 25, 2009

1976 Topps #123 - Walt Williams

  • Walt Williams played for four teams from 1964-1975. By the time this card came out, Walt was playing in Japan for the Nippon Ham Fighters. He played in Japan in 1976 and 1977.
  • Williams started off in the Houston Colt .45s organization. He batted nine times without a hit in 1964. Walt was waived and picked up by the St. Louis Cardinals. He then spent the next three seasons in the Cardinals organization, where he posted batting averages of .318, .330, and .330.
  • Walt was traded before the 1967 season to the Chicago White Sox. He batted .240 in 104 for the White Sox in 1967. He batted .241 in 63 games for the White Sox in 1968.
  • Williams got a chance to play everyday and made the most of it in 1969. He batted .304 in 471 at bats but with little power (3 HR). Walt regressed a bit in 1970, batting .251 in 315 at bats. He bounced back in 1971 (.294 and a career-high 8 HR in 361 at bats) but took another step back in 1972 (.249 in 221 at bats).
  • After the 1972 season Williams was traded to the Cleveland Indians for Eddie Leon. Walt batted .289 with 8 HR in 350 at bats for the Indians in 1973.
  • Before the 1974 season Williams was involved in a 3-team trade that netted the Indians Jim Perry. Walt ended up with the New York Yankees, where he played the final two years of his big league career. He didn't play much in 1974 (.113 in 53 at bats) but played a bit more in 1975 (.281 in 185 at bats).
  • Walt had the nickname "No Neck" due to his height (5'6") and a muscular upper torso. The first time I heard of Williams was in the classic The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book by Brendan C. Boyd & Fred C. Harris. Next to his card was the line, "Yes, Virginia, Walt Williams had no neck. And his legs weren't particularly long, either." I loved that book and I still read it once every few years.

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